French ex-president Jacques Chirac goes on trial Monday being charged of embezzlement, breach of trust and conflict of interest. Back in the 90’s when Chirac was mayor of Paris he used public money for paying the people who were working for his party at that time.
While he was mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995 (that year he became president of France) he used a number of seven people who were hired by the city of Paris to work for his RPR party.
This matter was known to the public long time ago, but Chirac could not be accused because he was protected by presidential immunity. Besides the ex-president there are 9 more people who are going on trial, including two former chiefs of staff accused of having ghost jobs.
If Chirac is found guilty he might stay behind the bars for the next 10 years and also forced to pay a fine of $210,000. He admits the financial fraud, but he says that he didn’t know anything at that time and his lawyers accused magistrates of harbouring a political agenda.
The trial was opened Monday by judge Dominique Pauthe and the former president would be represented in court by lawyer Jean Veil. The trial is expected to continue over a month from now on.
Jacques Chirac is one of the most popular french political figures, and he is best known at international level for his opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
He will be the first president who appear in the front of justice under criminal charges. He was involved in several corruption before, but he managed to escape any kind of accusation until now. Last year he escaped Paris city hall civil charges in return for a payment of more than 2.2 million euros.
According to the court, Chirac’s first appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, when he is due to answer the judge’s questions.